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22 Jan 2020, Edition - 1653, Wednesday

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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos loses $19.2 billion in two days


Guess how much of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ wealth vaporised over the past two trading days? A whopping $19.2 billion, the most ever in that time according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Although he remains the world’s richest person, his net worth is now a lot closer to Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who ranks second on the Forbes World’s Billionaires. Just four months ago, the wealth gap between them had stood at $49 billion.

Monday’s bloodbath on Wall Street came amid news reports of an escalation in the trade wars between the US and China as well as Britain’s move to introduce a digital services tax on the tech giants. According to Bloomberg, the US is preparing to announce tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December if the scheduled talks between presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping next month fail to ease current tensions.

The news agency added that it was the tech stocks that led the sell-off on Monday, with the Nasdaq Composite Index sliding to its lowest since April. Shares of Amazon tumbled 6.3%, on top of Friday’s 7.8% drop, leaving Bezos with $128.1 billion, down from a peak of $167.7 billion early last month.

Yesterday alone he took a $8.2 billion hit, the biggest by far on the Bloomberg ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. The day’s second-largest loss was posted by Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim (down $2.5 billion) followed by Gates, who lost $558.3 million and is now worth $92.8 billion.

Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg previously held the record for the steepest wealth erosion among the billionaires. In July, he had found himself poorer by $16.5 billion when the social media company’s stock had nosedived 25% on disappointing quarterly results and worrying outlook.

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